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California Energy Upgrade Program Provides Unprecedented Rebates and Incentives for Home Owners

Local Program Launched at American Consumer Shows Today

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – Efforts to increase energy efficiency and create green jobs received an important boost on March 1 by the formal launch of California’s new statewide energy efficiency program, Energy Upgrade California. The program offers up to $4,000 cash back when homeowners implement energy-saving upgrades to their homes. In Santa Clara County, a total of 3,000 homes are expected to benefit from this program by March 2012.

“Energy Upgrade California is the result of an unprecedented alliance among federal, state and local agencies,” said President Dave Cortese, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “The rebates offered by the program help homeowners make an investment that will save them money on utility bills in the long run and make their homes more comfortable and healthy to live in.”

Benefits for homeowners include:

  • Rebates and incentives to help pay for upgrades.
  • One-stop-shop web portal with tools and information.
  • A more efficient home that saves energy, water and other natural resources.
  • A more comfortable home that stays warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
  • An opportunity to lower utility bills with more efficient systems.
  • Improved indoor air quality with proper air sealing and ventilation to help eliminate mold and avoid indoor air pollution.
  • A “greener” home that helps the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving natural resources.
  • A more valuable home based on increased demand for energy- and resource-efficient homes.

“I am pleased to see the County’s Office of Sustainability launch its public outreach through this program,” said Supervisor Ken Yeager, who championed the creation of the office. “The more we can help residents make changes that support a greener Santa Clara County, the better chance we will have to meet our energy conservation goals.”

The Community Energy Program, which is a part of the Santa Clara County Office of Sustainability, is coordinating local efforts to drive consumer demand for energy upgrades and develop a trained workforce to perform the work. The program is being launched at the American Consumer Shows at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center today.

“We want all homeowners in the county to understand the health, financial and environmental benefits of energy upgrades,” said Community Energy Program Manager Sharlene Carlson. “The County is working closely with local cities to spread the word about the new program and one-stop-shop website that we will demonstrate at the home show.”

Currently, homeowners who are PG&E customers can choose from one of two packages that qualify for rebates and incentives: the Basic Upgrade Package and the Advanced Upgrade Package. The Basic Package consists of seven required elements designed to improve energy efficiency by approximately 10 percent, and includes a rebate of $1,000. These elements include air sealing, attic insulation, duct sealing, hot water pipe insulation, low-flow showerhead with thermostatic control, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and combusting safety testing.

The Advanced Package is a “whole house” approach, in which a home is viewed as a complete system. All of the elements and systems — heating, air conditioning, water, and structural features like windows, ducts and insulation — should work together effectively to minimize energy use. Rebates range from $1,500 to $4,000 for energy savings from 15 to 40 percent. To qualify for the Advanced Package, home owners must complete the measures included in the Basic Upgrade Package and add additional measures including high-efficiency furnaces, energy-efficient cooling systems, energy-efficient water heaters, wall insulation, energy-efficient pool pumps, dual pane energy-efficient windows, and cool roofs.

In addition to the two packages, homeowners can add separate Enhanced Options, including recycled building materials, water-efficient landscaping, water-efficient fixtures, Energy Star appliances and Solar panels. These options are not eligible for utility incentives, but may qualify for rebates and incentives from other sources.

For more information about the program, as well as a list of participating contractors, go to: The program also provides training to contractors who are interested in participating.

Low-income families may qualify for a free Basic Upgrade Package. For details, contact Low Income Home Weatherization Program operated by Sacred Heart Community Service at 1-877-278-6455, or visit:

About Energy Upgrade California
Energy Upgrade California is a statewide energy efficiency program that delivers tools and resources to improve energy and water efficiency, save consumers money, help the environment, create green jobs and revitalize California’s economy. The program is a collaboration among California counties, cities, non-profit organizations, government agencies, local utility companies (Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas Company and San Diego Gas & Electric) and many publicly owned utilities. Funding for Energy Upgrade California is provided by: the federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA); investor-owned utility Whole House Retrofit programs; California Energy Commission-administered Energy Efficiency and Conservation block grants; the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Program; the Employment Development Department Workforce Investment Act; and local governments. For more information, visit:

Using the program’s web portal, property owners can enter their zip code or county name to learn about available upgrade programs, rebates, financing options and Participating Contractors. Initially, the program will be available for single-family detached homes. Later in 2011, the program will expand to include multi-family and commercial properties.

Energy Upgrade California expects to help upgrade 100,000 homes statewide and create as many as 12,000 construction and related jobs in California.

Media Contacts: Santa Clara County: Sharlene Carlson, 408-299-5156; Gwendolyn Mitchell/Lingxia Meng, 408-299-5119; California Energy Commission: Susanne Garfield, 916-654-4989,; Media & Public Communications Office,; Statewide Public Relations: Bill Maxfield, 831-227-6469
Posted: March 11, 2011